Sunday 20 April 2014

Being vegetarian in Peru

Being a vegetarian in Peru was surprisingly easy. 

Peru is getting itself known as being a bit of a foodie destination and as well as the Alpaca steaks that James enjoyed along the way, this also means that there are an increasing number of (varying quality) vegetarian restaurants.

We ate very well in Lima. Following the recommendations of Neverending Voyage and Indefinite Adventure, we made a beeline for Almazen, where we enjoyed sampling a range of different types of potatoes, cooked in multiple ways with delicious sauces, as well as imaginatively stuffed tomatoes and a yummy stuffed pancake.

In the daytime in Lima, we went to the Raw Cafe for delicious juices and wraps. The salads on the menu also looked very tasty.

Wraps and juice at Raw Cafe

In other larger cities, like Cusco and Arequipa, the number of western tourists that pass through, means that there are nearly always vegetarian options on the menu in most restaurants. And, while the options went beyond pizza and pasta, I had some very tasty pizza in Peru, baked in the big stone ovens that seem to be everywhere in the higher altitude towns and cities. 

There are also an increasing number of veggie and vegan restaurants too. In Arequipa, we found a veggie restaurant (Damodar) serving a very filling and tasty set lunch for 6 soles (around £1,20/ under $2). 

Delicious soup to start
Followed by rice and yummy veggies
For curry lovers, head to Korma Sutra in the San Blas district of Cusco. It has both meat and vegetarian options and was delicious!

For pescatarians, wanting to try some traditional Peruvian fare, there is always ceviche - a dish of raw fish, chilli peppers and onions with lime juice. Other more typical dishes without meat or fish include the yummy 'papa a la Huancaina' - potatoes with a spicy creamy sauce. Typically served as a starter, I found it also made for a very good lunch!

Papa a la Huancaina
You can also find good vegetarian street food in Peru. Papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes) come in both meat and veggie varieties (just make sure you ask what’s in them before you buy!). There are also empanadas with cheese (a type of pasty) and for a quick snack, we found vendors on street corners in most Peruvian towns selling boiled quails eggs.

Papas rellenas - stuffed with onion

It is also possible to eat very well at the local market stalls. If you look hard enough, you will see that they don’t just sell chicken! For example, in San Pedro market in Cusco, for around a £1, I had a very full plate of rice mixed with egg and plantain, washed down with Inca Cola! 

Even if you decide not to eat at one of the local markets, be sure to head to one of the juice stalls - you'll not be disappointed!

And if all else fails, Peru is becoming better and better known for its chocolate, so you could just eat chocolate or even join a chocolate making workshop!

Making chocolate at the ChocoMuseo, Cusco

AlmazenRecavarren 298, Miraflores, Lima
Raw Cafe, Independecia 587, Miraflores, Lima
Restaurante y Snack Vegetariano Damodar, Calle Rivero 603, Arequipa
Korma Sutra, Tandapata 909, San Blas, Cusco 

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